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Healthy fingernails

Fingernail colour and texture can reflect a wide range of medical conditions.



WebMD Medical Reference


Take a good look at your fingernails and you may notice subtle variations in the texture or colour - a touch of white here, a rosy tint there, perhaps some rippling or bumps in the surface. These imperfections may not look like much to you, but healthy fingernails are more important than you might think. That's because to the trained eye, nails  can provide valuable clues about your overall health.


10 examples of nail changes that could indicate a serious medical condition

White nails : Liver diseases such as hepatitis

Yellowish, thickened, slow-growing nails: Lung diseases such as emphysema

Yellowish nails with a slight blush at the base: Diabetes

Half-white, half-pink nails: Kidney disease

Red nail beds: Heart disease

Pale or white nail beds: Anaemia

‘Clubbing’, a painless increase in tissue around the ends of the fingers, or inversion of the nail: Lung diseases

Irregular red lines at the base of the nail fold: Lupus or connective tissue disease

Dark lines beneath the nail: Melanoma


Rarely the first clue


When healthy fingernails begin to change colour or texture, one of the most common underlying causes is fingernail fungus, which can cause the nails to crack, peel, and change colour and texture. These infections often prove difficult to treat and may require professional help, including prescription antifungal medications.


Be alert to changes in texture, shape, or colour that aren't due to a bruise or fungal infection, including irregular growth, pitting or holes in the nails, dark brown streaks beneath the nail and cuticle, or long-standing warts on the nail bed. Any such colour change to previously healthy fingernails is cause for concern.


A GP may advise a referral to a dermatologist or other specialist for some conditions.


Tips for strong, healthy fingernails



To maintain healthy fingernails, avoid infections, and improve nail appearance, try the following tips:



If you are not sure if your fingernails are healthy ask your practice nurse or doctor to take a look at them.


Warning signs for conditions from hepatitis to heart disease, may also appear when previously healthy fingernails undergo changes.


Pale, whitish nail beds may indicate a low red blood cell count consistent with anaemia.


An iron deficiency can also cause the nail bed to be thin and concave and have raised ridges, spoon-shaped nails or koilonychia.


Heart disease  can turn the nail beds red. Obsessive-compulsive disorder can show up in the nails through persistent nail-biting or picking.


Even common disorders like thyroid disease can cause abnormalities in the nail beds, producing dry, brittle nails that crack and split easily.


Source:

www.boots.com

Fingernails